Musicals: From Stage & Film to Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ethan Riley, Apr 14, 2011.

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  1. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    This thread has been started with a number of posts that were made in THIS THREAD about the release of Fiddler on the Roof on Blu-ray.

    I moved the posts (which appear before this post) into this thread so the Fiddler thread might remain on topic.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Let the discussions resume.
     
  3. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Sony has restored Bye Bye Birdie and the AMPAS is screening it next week:

    http://www.oscars.org/events-exhibitions/events/2011/04/bye-bye-birdie.html

    But Ron says not to hold your breath for a Blu-Ray unless you have lungs the size of hot air balloons:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/forum/thread/310129/bye-bye-birdie-blu-ray-put-on-a-happy-face
     
  4. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Hmm...well, if there's a lot of positive buzz after the screening, maybe they'll have another think. It's been a fair seller on home video for ages. And they need to nail down Ann-Margret and Bobby Rydell at the screening and get them to do commentary (just in case). However, if it's a Sony catalog title, then who knows what's gonna happen (probably nothing, until they have their financial problems sorted out, or better yet--start selling off some of their vintage properties to better hands, in order to raise revenue. That would suit me fine seeing as how they've been sitting on much of their catalog for the past five years).

    Annie has a better shot, because of its upcoming anniversary. It also occurred to me that all of its main actors are still alive 30 years on, and could be available for all those extras and commentary that we all love--hint hint, Columbia, or Warners, or Fox or whoever owns the rights currently...
     
  5. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    Thanks, Mike. It was for the best lol. And while I didn't actually start this thread, I did re-word the first post so that it (sorta) makes more sense to people joining in the fun--
     
  6. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Aside from The Wizard of Oz and the 1936 Show Boat, are there other musicals from the 1930s that are still favorites of people around here? I tried the The Great Ziegfeld once, long ago, and to me it seemed like only the so-so Ziegfeld, or the keeps going on and on Ziegfeld. But perhaps I was young and impatient, and now that I'm middle aged and sentimental maybe I'd like it better. Anyway, to possibly jog some memories here's a huge chronological list of musicals:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_musical_films_by_year
     
  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Thanks, Mike, for getting this new thread started with posts from the FIDDLER thread. Many of us who love musicals now have a place to come and play.


    I always assumed "Motherhood" was dropped from Hello, Dolly! because it was allegedly written by Bob Merrill and not Jerry Herman, so no need to pay him (and now his estate) royalties for the film soundtrack.

    Other 1930s musicals that I love: Naughty Marietta (my late father's favorite movie),all of the Astaire-Rogers pictures but especially Top Hat, Swing Time, and Shall We Dance, Love Me Tonight, Mae West's I'm No Angel (which has a fair number of songs), and, of course, some of the Warner-Busby Berkeley musicals like 42nd Street and GoldDiggers of 1933.
     
  8. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Good move, Mike.

    I am a little worried about the upcoming movie adaptation of Rock of Ages. I can't imagine that licensing all of those '80s songs for film is going to be easy. Hopefully it won't change too much.
     
  9. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Looking at the wiki list posted by Ben got me very interested in what's now on the docket to be coming forth:




    Some random notes from the wiki notes (as unreliable as they may be):

    --Music by Jay-Z in Annie?!?

    --Carousel is one of my least favorite R&H musicals...but Hugh Jackman as Billy Bigelow could be a very good thing.

    --I LOVED Enchanted. I would hope an Enchanted 2 (if it's ever done) would live up to the original.

    --If Jim Carrey can underplay his role as Applegate in Damn Yankees (Jake Gyllenhaal is announced as Joe Hardy), it might work.

    --Bring on films of Wicked and Les Miserables!
     
  10. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I had not heard about that, but I had heard rumors for years that "Elegance" was ghostwritten by Charles Strouse. Then the title song itself was the subject of a plagiarism lawsuit.





    Annie will be back on Broadway next year (with the Willow Smith vanity re-remake/re-invention/update [basically analogous to The Wiz or Disney's Oliver & Company] planned for 2013, and yes, Jay-Z will be involved), so I wouldn't be surprised to see both the film and TV versions get some attention. Digitallyobsessed interviewed Aileen Quinn when the so-called "special anniversary edition" DVD came out (I know correlation isn't causation, but Ray Stark died a few days later…); she said they asked her to do a commentary and passed it up but did the short featurette. Maybe if they got others on board? It's been enough time that they can go back and do better with the extras. The German DVD even had an isolated score (albeit in mono), which I doubt we'll get (Glory and Fly Away Home had isolated scores that did not make the jump from DVD to Blu-Ray). Nevertheless you can put me down for a Blu-ray mea culpa for its shoddy DVD treatment when it finally happens. A remixed soundtrack is unlikely, as studios don't seem to want to go back to the stems when they exist merely to fix things that only the most fastidious of us notice.


    BTW, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it-clip of the original version of "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile" in the theatrical trailer.


    Bye Bye Birdie's Broadway revival apparently didn't do so well, and the 50th anniversary isn't until 2013 (also #45 for two of Columbia's other big musicals, Oliver! and Funny Girl, which could both use more in-depth extras), but still I can see it happening. I imagine Ann-Margret and Bobby Rydell would be more likely to do a commentary than Dick Van Dyke, who is alive but was never a big fan of the film; he and Paul Lynde both resented the increased focus on Kim and Hugo. At least they came back to do the film.


    And then of course, there's 1776.


    When did Sony start having financial problems? MGM has been flailing for longer than they were thriving in the first place and we've gotten stellar BDs of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Fiddler on the Roof, with Hair and New York, New York (two others mistreated on DVD) on the way, and West Side Story all but a done deal. Sony does have a deal with Image for some catalog titles, but I don't see them getting ahold of any of the big Columbia musicals. It's mostly 70s, 80s, and 90s catalog titles.
     
  11. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Mike F: Wow, I never looked past the 30s and didn't even know that possible future musicals are on the list. Somehow a remake of ASIB by Eastwood with Beyonce was not what I was expecting or looking forward to. I think I'll stick with the Judy Garland version, cut scenes and all...
     
  12. ahollis

    ahollis Producer

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    My thanks to Mike also.

    Matt you may be correct, but I had always assumed that Motherhood was just a poor song that did not move the story along, and they wanted to give Barbara a solo number which was "Love Is Only Love" which was written for Mame, but was dropped before the musical opened on Broadway. It's funny that I can barely remember the opening number from the play, but "Just Leave Everything To Me" seems so perfect now instead of "Call On Dolly"
     
  13. Rob_Ray

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    If we're listing favorite musicals of the 1930s, I'd have to include all the Lubitsch musicals, (One Hour With You, The Smiling Lieutenant, The Love Parade, Monte Carlo, The Merry Widow, etc.) as well as Love Me Tonight. For Fox, there's things like Alexander's Ragtime Band and all those wonderful Alice Faye musicals that have never been released on video like Wake Up and Live. And though it's not a musical, but rather a drama with lots of music, I like San Francisco with its title tune and Freed and Brown's Would You?

    Carousel, the 1956 film, is also my least favorite R&H, but it's the one movie of theirs that's crying to be remade, moreso than South Pacific ever was. It's possibly their best score and it was severely truncated for the movie, which was also hampered by censorship problems and Fox's overall timidness in handling the dark material. Someone should have another go with this one.
     
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  14. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    The fun thing about a list like that, Ben--and discussions like this--is that everybody is going to bring their own biases and favorites to the table and look at that list and hate some of it and love some of it.

    There are certain musicals that could be up for re-makes that I'd say, "No! Don't!"...why others would say "bring 'em on!"
     
  15. allanfisch

    allanfisch Agent

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    What about the Astaire/Rogers pictures?
     
  16. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Even though I'll gladly compromise my principles to get a great (not just better, but great in and of itself) Mame movie, I'm just sick of remakes, period. It's gotten to the point where I don't even want to see bad movies remade. Frankly, since so many musicals seem to be plagued by cuts due to executive meddling I think it would be a better use of time and money to restore cuts that should not have been made in the first place to the existing films.

    I know there are musicals left with no film versions that deserve a shot. I know that in the late 1960s musical boom, MGM planned to do She Loves Me with Julie Andrews, but it was a victim of James T. Aubrey, Jr.'s slash-and-burn-and-meddle approach to save the studio, from which they have never recovered. That should have been gangbusters.
     
  17. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Thanks everyone for the musical recommends from the 30s. MatthewA's comments about how badly 20th century treated their library makes me think we won't get that many classic films from fox because the materials are in bad shape. I know the negative of the one film Hitchcock did for them, Lifeboat, was damaged by water, but it's still watchable on DVD. Was MGM better than most when it comes to preservation? I say this because many of the MGM classics put out by Warner look great. Now I know that the first time MGM crashed, burned, and was sold in the late 60s and early 70s that they thew out a lot of stuff, but they did keep the original negatives I assume and they were mostly in pretty good shape....?
     
  18. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    You are correct - Bob Merrill wrote "Motherhood" and some of "Elegance". Jerry Herman was not happy and always hated Motherhood" and would not allow the use of the song in the film and it was never recorded or shot.



    Herman re-wrote some of "Elegance" but he does not include the song in his book of lyrics . Charles Strouse wrote a song similar to the Parade Passes By, but Herman asked to have another try and wrote "Before the Parade Passes By" himself



    Even though only one composer is credited, in a fair amount of shows there have been songs written by other composers





    I have a real difficult time believing "Bye Bye Birdie" isn't coming to Blu-ray later this year. Why would Sony do a digital restoration (just like they did the year before with "Tommy" which was announced for blu-ray a day or two before the Academy screening?


    My guess is they want to keep it quiet untill they're ready to make an announcement - which should be next week (Ann-Margret and Bobby Rydell are suppose to be there)



    Anniversaries in 2012:



    1982


    "Annie" turns 30 next year - so you can be sure an anniversary edition will come out (like the anniversary edition in 1997 when the show turned 20)


    "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial" will also be out next year in a special edition from Universal - they have been rumors


    "Victor/Victoria" also turns 30


    "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" also turns 30 next year - but Universal is planning a remake, so we might have to wait until that version hits theater screens



    Wanrer Bros


    "Gypsy" (1962) turns 50! (my guess - Warner will do something with this - they've announced Gypsy years ago for blu-ray)


    My guess also "The Music Man" (also 1962) will get a 50th re-packaging - probably as a digibook.


    Warner has already announced "Singing in the Rain" (60th) and "Camelot' (45th) for 2012


    "The Pajama Game" was added at Amazon (with no release date) it celebrates it's 55th in 2012 so someone at least is thinking about it





    And "1776" "Man of La Mancha" and "Cabaret" all turn 40 in 2012, so I wouldn't expect them any sooner
     
  19. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I have no idea how you really pull off "Miss Saigon" though I would applaud the effort. But I'm unsure of whether or not these are being made in a movie format or being shown as they are staged.
    Frankly, there are several stage productions I would love to see held in tact, exactly as presented on the stage, and offered in Bluray. Things like "Avenue Q" .

    I think when we say "Stage to Bluray" it's amazing how many musicals are unlikely to ever get movie versions - and probably shouldn't - but a staged production captured on Bluray would be an instant buy for me.

    Several of these I have seen staged at various points. Some I love, some I loathe.. but I think that's part of the audience (as an example, I really enjoyed the book "Wicked" which the musical is based on, but the two are so wildly different I really checked out of the musical early).

    But yeah, put out some staged production on Bluray, some behind the scenes, get me some "extras" of what goes on with stage hands, set design, timing, audience reactions, etc.. I'd buy.
     
  20. ahollis

    ahollis Producer

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    Ted Turner is the savior on most of the MGM, Warner and RKO titles. When he purchased MGM in 1986 it was basically for the library to use on TBS. He knew that there would be many uses for those titles over the years and wanted to make sure his investment stayed well. The MGM library at that time contained all MGM films made before 1986 and all the pre 1949 Warner Brothers titles and most of the RKO titles. It also included pre mid 50's UA but he allowed those titles to be sold back to Kirk Kerkorian. Which in hindsight was a mistake for us film fans, for if he would have restored THE ALAMO and IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD among many other titles.
     

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